Water and boating in the Lake District

The Lake District has more than sixteen lakes and numerous tarns plus a stretch of coastline. So there's plenty of opportunity to go rowing, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing or simply splash about on the shore.

Boat hire

The following four lakes all have watersport centres, and places where you can hire boats, including rowing boats and electric boats:

Wheel of a steamer © Dave Willis

Coniston Boating Centre Attractions

Have a great family day out at Coniston. Pre-book motor boats, canoes, bikes and more!

Things to do in Coniston

Steamers and boat cruises

Taking a cruise is a great way to experience the beautiful Lake District views. Combining a one-way cruise with a bus, walk or cycle can be a great way to travel around a lake in a day.

These lakes have passenger boats with multiple stops:

Windermere:

Windermere Lake Cruises - stops at Lakeside, Ferry House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere Jetty, Bark Barn Pier, Wray Castle, Brockhole on Windermere and Ambleside.

Windermere lake guide shows piers, jetties and towns around the lake

Cross Lakes Experience%

Cross Lakes Experience

Combine boat and coach ticket to travel from Bowness-on-Windermere across lake Windermere to Hill Top and Hawkshead. With cycle and walking routes to complete a full day exploring!

View routes and timetable

Ullswater:

Ullswater Steamers - stops at Glenridding, Aira Force, Howtown and Pooley Bridge.

Ullswater lake guide shows all piers, jetties and boat routes

Coniston:

National Trust Gondoloa - stops at Coniston Boating Centre, Brantwood and Lake Bank Jetty.

Coniston Launch - stops at Coniston Boating Centre, Waterhead, Brantwood, Sunny Bank, Lake Bank Jetty.

Coniston Water lake guide shows all piers, jetties and boat routes

Derwentwater:

Keswick Launch - stops at Keswick, Ashness Gate, Lodore, High Brandelhow, Low Brandelhow, Hawes End, Lingholm and Nichol End.

Derwentwater lake guide shows all piers and jetties

Staying safe on the water

Before heading out onto the water, take a look at our short water safety videos.

Maps of Lakes for water users:

The coast

The National Park includes 26 miles of coastline and estuaries. The coast, from Seascale to Millom, is quite different to the rest of the National Park.

Here you can enjoy dramatic views across open sea and into the high fells. Where the rivers of the western Lake District meet the sea there are dunes and estuaries rich with sea life and the birds which feed on it. There are lots of places where you can launch anything from a windsurfer to a small boat.

Find out more in our The Coast of the Lake District National Park leaflet (PDF)

Help native wildlife

Invasive non-native species of wildlife can hitchhike on equipment, footwear, clothing and boats. You may inadvertently spread the aliens even if you just go for a paddle! Every time you leave any water such as a river, tarn or lake:

Check - Clean - Dry

Stop the spread of invasive aquatic species logo

  • Check your equipment and clothing for living organisms. Pay particular attention to damp or hard to inspect areas.
  • Clean and wash all equipment, footwear and clothes thoroughly. If you do come across any organisms, leave them at the water body where you found them or on a hard surface to die out.
  • Dry all equipment and clothing. Some species can live for many days in damp conditions.

Find out more at Biosecurity - South Cumbria Rivers Trust

Need holiday accommodation?

Cottage near Coniston - copyright Charlie Hedley

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